Watson's spell broken as Cink steals Open glory

Veteran is left to reflect on missed chances as record, like his putt on the 18th, slips away

Stewart Cink broke the heart of Tom Watson – not to mention the entirety of the watching sporting world – here last night when denying the 59-year-old in a play-off for the 138th Open Championship. Watson would have become the oldest winner of a major, but instead was left to bemoan a bogey on the final hole of regulation play.

From the back of the 18th green, Watson had two putts to win his sixth Claret Jug and so equal Harry Vardon's record haul. But the veteran, who just eight months ago underwent a hip replacement operation, chased his first effort eight feet past and then missed the one coming back. That forced him into a four-hole play-off with his fellow American.

Cink, who at 36 is Watson's junior by 23 years, dominated the extra holes, prevailing by six shots to win his first major. It was an anti-climatic end to a day of rich drama. All the steadiness which characterised Watson's four rounds dissolved on the fateful 17th, the third play-off hole, when he fell foul of Turnberry's fearsome rough and double-bogeyed. In contrast, Cink birdied the par-five and went on to birdie the last as well.

"Extraordinary is just the tip of the iceberg here," said Cink, who matched Watson's 72-hole total of two-under with a 69. "Playing against Tom Watson? This stuff just does not happen. I grew up watching him – he has turned back the clock and I feel so happy just being part of it. Tom is amazing. An inspiration to all. What a competitor, what a champion."

That was the unanimous verdict at Turnberry. The huge crowds chanted "Tommy, Tommy" as he walked up to the 18th green for the second time in the evening. All week, the Ailsa Course had been held spell-bound by Watson's attempt to shatter golf's previous record for the oldest major winner – Julius Boros who won the 1968 USPGA Championship at the age of 48. With the added poignancy of Watson having won the "Duel in The Sun" here against Jack Nicklaus 32 years before, this will go down as one of the most remarkable Opens. If not the most remarkable. "I just felt I could do it," Watson said. "I felt I had the game to win it here. I couldn't have done it anywhere else. This place suits me. I feel at home."

Watson was then asked what the morning's headlines should read. "The old fogey nearly did it," he replied.

Meanwhile, there was also a fine home showing with two Britons, Lee Westwood and Chris Wood, sharing third place, one shot behind.

Westwood, who eagled the par-five seventh for a brief two-stroke lead, faltered after the turn on the way to a 71, while Wood, who came third as an amateur in last year's Open at Birkdale, stormed through the field with a 67. Both would have been in the play-off if they had not bogeyed the last hole.

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Robin van Persie scores the third for Manchester United with a perfectly-guided header
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all